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Laguna Beach

 Volume 13, Issue 5  |  January 15, 2021

Police Files

Spate of catalytic converter thefts leave locals unnerved; more arrests made

More locals have reported the theft of catalytic converters from their vehicles since our last issue, marking a dozen plus such thefts in Laguna Beach in the last three weeks.

On Saturday morning, January 9, LBPD took to Nextdoor with the following announcement via Community Services Officer Natasha Hernandez:

“Was your catalytic converter stolen this morning? While you were sleeping, at approximately 2:30 a.m. this morning, officers conducted a traffic stop in the area of Wesley Drive and Coast Hwy. Upon investigation, five freshly cut stolen catalytic converters were located. The occupants stated the catalytic converters came from three Toyota Prius vehicles, a white Ford F150, and a Honda CRV, color unknown. All…occupants were taken into custody. Please check your vehicles to determine if you have been a victim. If you think you were a victim of this incident of have questions regarding catalytic converter thefts, please contact the Laguna Beach Police Department at (949) 497-0701.

Police Files 1

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LBPD

Catalytic converters recovered by LBPD during traffic stop

Yesterday, January 11, LBPD released the following press release via Lt. Jim Cota:

“Over the last several months, thieves have targeted vehicles in several south Orange County cities (including Laguna Beach) in attempts to steal catalytic converters. These thefts are occurring in the early morning hours under cover of darkness. Thieves can remove a catalytic converter quickly, often in less than two minutes. The thieves have been primarily targeting older Ford trucks and Toyota Prius vehicles. 

“In the early morning hours on December 26th, Laguna Beach Police officers arrested three male subjects suspected of stealing catalytic converters after fleeing from their abandoned getaway vehicle. Several catalytic converters were recovered in that vehicle. The investigation remains ongoing.

“On the morning of January 9, just after 2:30 am, Laguna Beach Police officers conducted a traffic stop and located five catalytic converters, burglary tools, power saws, and narcotics inside the vehicle. Four male subjects were taken into custody for possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools, possession of a controlled substance, and paraphernalia.    

Police Files 2

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LBPD

Suspects arrested by LBPD: (L-R) Moises Barahona-Martinez, Juan Castro, Erick Cubias, and Kevin Sanchez-Maldonado

“The Laguna Beach Police Department wants to remind our community to take precautions to prevent these types of thefts by parking your vehicle in a garage or well-lit area under video surveillance if possible. If you observe any suspicious persons, please immediately call the Laguna Beach Police Department.”

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.


Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

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